By: weatheringpoints, 11:45 PM GMT on October 31, 2013
Total Solar Eclipse of November 3
The final event of 2013 is the most interesting eclipse of the year. It is one of the rare hybrid or annular/total eclipses in which some sections of the path are annular while other parts are total. The duality comes about when the vertex of the Moon's umbral shadow pierces Earth's surface at some locations, but falls short of the planet along other sections of the path. The unusual geometry is due to the curvature of Earth's surface that brings some geographic locations into the umbra while other positions are more distant and enter the antumbral rather than umbral shadow. In most cases, the central path begins annular, changes to total for the middle portion of the track, and reverts back to annular towards the end of the path. However, November 3 eclipse is even more unique because the central path to begins annular and ends total. Because hybrid eclipses occur near the vertex of the Moon's umbral/antumbral shadows, the central path is typically quite narrow.
The hybrid eclipse of 2013 is visible from within a thin corridor, which traverses the North Atlantic and equatorial Africa. A partial eclipse is seen within the much broader path of the Moon's penumbral shadow, which includes eastern North America, northern South America, southern Europe, the Middle East and Africa (Figure 5).
The path of the Moon's shadow begins in the North Atlantic approximately 1000 km due east of Jacksonville, FL. From the central line, a 4 second annular eclipse is visible at sunrise (11:05 UT). As the shadow races forward, the narrow 4 km wide path rapidly shrinks to zero and the eclipse changes from annular to total. This all transpires within the first 15 seconds of the shadow's trajectory. For the remainder of the track, the eclipse remains total.
Continuing on a southeast coarse, the vertex of the umbral shadow passes progressively deeper into Earth as the planet's curvature brings the path along the surface closer to the Moon. By 11:10 UT, the track is 13 km wide and totality lasts 16 seconds. Growing quickly, the duration reaches 30 seconds by 11:18 UT.
With no landfall yet in sight, the shadow passes 500 km south of Cape Verde at 12:00 UT. On the central line, totality now lasts 1 minute 18 seconds, the Sun's altitude is 57°, and the path width is 56 km.
Greatest eclipse occurs in the Atlantic at 12:47:36 UT, approximately 330 kilometres southwest of Liberia. At this instant, the axis of the Moon's shadow passes closest to Earth's centre. The maximum duration of totality is 1 minute 39 seconds, the Sun's altitude is 71°, and the path width is 57 kilometres.
Slowly curving to the east, the track just misses Sao Tome and Principe and intercepts the coast of Gabon north of Port-Gentil in the Wonga Wongue Reserve (13:51 UT) where the central line duration is 1 minute 7 seconds and the Sun's altitude is 46°. The Moon's shadow crosses Gabon in 9 minutes and sweeps over the Congo in 7 more. Entering the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the path width is 36 kilometres and the duration is 48 seconds (Figure 6).
The track begins curving to the northeast as it narrows and the duration of totality decreases. By the time the umbra reaches the western border of Uganda, totality drops to 23 seconds with the Sun at 18° (14:22 UT). Sweeping over northern Kenya, the path crosses Lake Turkana where the central line duration is 14 seconds at 14:25 UT.
In its final 2 1/2 minutes, the lunar shadow races across southern Ethiopia before leaving Earth's surface in Somalia where a 1 second total eclipse occurs at sunset.
Over the course of 3.3 hours, the Moon's umbra travels along a path approximately 13,600 kilometres long and covers 0.09% of Earth's surface area. Path coordinates and central line circumstances are presented in Table 3. The Universal Time (UT), the northern and southern limits, and the central line coordinates are given at five-minute intervals. The Sun's altitude at maximum eclipse is followed by the width of the central path and the duration of totality.
Local circumstances for a number of cities are found in Table 4. All times are given in Universal Time. The Sun's altitude and azimuth, the eclipse magnitude and obscuration are all given at the instant of maximum eclipse.
This is the 23rd eclipse of Saros 143 (Espenak and Meeus, 2006). The series began on 1617 Mar 07 with a string of 10 partial eclipses. The first of 12 total eclipses occurred on 1797 Jun 24. The 2013 event is the first of 4 hybrids of the series before transitioning to pure annular eclipses beginning 2085 Dec 16. The series ends with a set of 20 partial eclipses the last of which occurs on 2897 Apr 23.
In all, Saros 143 produces 72 eclipses in the sequence of 10 partial, 12 total, 4 hybrid, 26 annular, and 20 partial eclipses. Complete details for the series can be found at:
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Updated: 12:52 AM GMT on November 10, 2013